The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Release Date: January 17, 2012
Illustrated by: Patricia Castelao
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rated: MG 11+
Format: ARC
Source: Found
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

It's kinda weird how I found an ARC version of this book–it was in my school's bookfair bin! Well, it was pretty unexpected for me. I grabbed this one because I've heard a lot about The One and Only Ivan, and Katherine Applegate's books. I caught a glimpse of her at ALA2013, and then I found out that she was married to Michael Grant, who I did meet! This was the first time I've ever read any of her books, and this one was fantastic. It was a pretty short read, and it was absolutely adorable: I finished it in one sitting and enjoyed it immensely. Well, "enjoyed" kind of indicates that it was all fun. You guys, this one made me feel things. A lot of it was just so sad! I hate it when animals are mistreated in circuses or facilities that restrict them. Reading about how a group of animals are pushed into being spectacles just made me really angry and sad.

Ivan was such a great character–it was interesting reading a book from an animal's point of view. I certainly learned a lot about gorillas! Stella, Bob and Ruby were fantastic characters as well. There are also quite a few human characters prominent in this story, some of them good, and some of them not so good. It really helped to build some tension towards the climax with the barrier between human and animal understanding.

There's honestly nothing bad I can say about this book–The One and Only Ivan was a delightful read, and Katherine Applegate truly is a wonderful author who can craft an equally wonderful story. Read this one–you won't regret it!

If you like this, try...

  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo Goodreads

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  1. Oh, that's interesting! I have to check it out. I didn't know she's married to Michael Grant.

  2. That is so cool that there was an ARC of this at your school! Glad you enjoyed this. :)

  3. I've heard so many good things about this book and I'm happy to see another good review! I love that it's set from an animal's point of view, that definitely makes it more interesting. I have a copy of it sitting on my nook that I've been saving for a time when I need a really good middle-grade book to read. :)

  4. I read a book that the two wrote together (can't remember the title) and didn't particularly enjoy it, but I've heard a great many wonderful things about this book. I might just give it a try.

  5. Oh god a book about cruelty of animals. This is definitely going to bring the waterworks.

  6. Hey, that's pretty cool! Old ARCs are like treasures. And funny - I didn't know that this author is married to Michael Grant! You learn something new every day. :D Anyway, I'm not big on MG, sadly! Not anymore. I'm happy to see that you enjoy this book! Wonderful review, Rabiah. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!


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